These essays have come a long way since 1935, when John F. Kennedy's succinct, handwritten and utterly unoriginal paragraph was enough to get him into his father's alma mater, answering the question: "Why do you wish to go to Harvard?"
I went to public school, and remember being assigned to read a few Shakespeare plays, a work or two of the ancient Greeks and several of the notable "coming of age" novels of the 20th century. But never once was I told to listen to a Beethoven symphony.
Your college choice isn't just about "fit" and "comfort"; it isn't just about the prestige of the school or the amenities it offers. Your college choice should reflect your aspirations, where you can imagine yourself discovering more about the world and your capacities to interact with it.
The reason that Kwasi's success doesn't depend on which school he attends is because Kwasi has cracked the "big secret" that I hope to instill in every one of my students: ultimately, the power to succeed lies in you.
There are simply not enough places at these few schools for all the students with perfect grades and perfect scores. Which brings me to Kwasi's essay, what it reveals about him, and what it reveals about what top schools seem to be looking for.